Energy pipelines are on ice, but Baker is still getting heat on natural gas
The region’s two giant pipeline projects are on the shelf for now. So what were protesters doing in Governor Charlie Baker’s office Wednesday, pressing him to just say “no” to natural gas?
They want Baker to sign an order aimed at blocking permits for new fossil fuel infrastructure projects. While the Northeast Energy Direct and Access Northeast pipelines are on hold, there are smaller battles to fight — the Weymouth compressor station, for example, or National Grid’s service expansion in Boston. So the enviros stepped up their efforts, with the hope Baker agrees before a high-profile climate summit ends in Germany this month.
Good luck with that. Baker has said natural gas plays a key role in the state’s fuel mix, part of a “combo platter.” The administration tried to create a tax of sorts on electric ratepayers to help fund gas projects like Access Northeast, but lost that one in a court battle.
The administration just showed a willingness to take on the industry by pressing gas utilities for more info after an environmental group raised concerns that two companies had tied up significant pipeline capacity.
But natural gas opponents want more than a regulatory inquiry. And they don’t seem willing to go away until they get it.